My Accidental Mediterranean Pasta

I couldn’t decide what type of sauce I was going to make for my Rigatoni and Italian Sausage Dinner.  I kept going back and forth…basic red sauce with onions, green peppers, garlic and tomatoes?  Roasted Red Pepper Sauce?  A sauce using the 1/2 can of pumpkin I have leftover?  After much debate I decided on the roasted red pepper sauce.  A creamy pureed sauce made with roasted red peppers, sauteed onions and garlic, chicken broth and heavy cream.  Yes!!!  That is what I am craving…..

Started sauteing one onion diced with about 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic. Head off to the pantry and grabbed the jar of roasted red peppers.  I open it up and wait…those aren’t roasted red peppers.  In my hands were sun-dried tomatoes.  I guess when I went to the store I bought sun-dried tomatoes instead of roasted red peppers.  Usually I like to have both as staples in my pantry but after being on vacation for almost a month the pantry was a little bare and I am in the midst of restocking.

Okay–time to regroup.  I can do this.  Let’s see what else I have in the pantry and fridge.

  • Jar of artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 jar of capers
  • Some leftover sparkling cider
  • Feta cheese
  • A lemon
  • Chicken stock base
  • Heavy whipping cream

Mediterranean- based pasta it is!!!  I julienne about 1/2 jar of the sun-dried tomatoes and add it to my onion-garlic mixture, along with 1/2 jar of the artichoke hearts.

After a couple minutes, in goes the sparkling apple cider (@1 cup) and about 2 cups of chicken broth I make from the base.

If you don’t have this chicken or beef base in your fridge- go buy it.  This is a staple that I have used when I needed it in a pinch.  Always great to have it on hand.

I let this simmer and reduce a bit then add some capers and the juice of 1/2 lemon.

At this point the sauce is delicious and I almost didn’t add any heavy cream but I had it in the fridge so why not…..add some cream and let thicken to your decided consistency.

I have to admit I was starving and didn’t let it did long or thicken but it was still wonderful.

Made my plate and added some feta…..a Mediterranean dish in a flash!!!

 

Without heavy whipping cream. Could just reduce at this point and use.

After the addition of heavy whipping cream.

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Teriyaki Black Cods Tips

Black cod, aka Sablefish or Butterfish, is caught in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California.  The mistake most people make when trying black cod for the first time is not realizing this is not Atlantic or Pacific Cod.  Atlantic and Pacific cod is a versatile mild white fish and what most think of when hearing “cod”.  Trust me when I fist tried it years ago I was one of those.  As a side note,  young Atlantic cod is called haddock or scrod.

Black cod is meaty like halibut although it is an oily fish.  It has a pearly white flesh and mild flavor.  The oil content lends it great fish to be grilled and where the flavor comes from.  You might have seen my other post marinating the tips brown sugar and soy sauce (which is delicious- by the way), but I wanted to change it up so decided to try a teriyaki version.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup OJ
  • a squeeze from 1/2 lime
  • 1 lb black cod tips

Let marinate a few hours or overnight.  I didn’t want to get the grill going so I used the cook top.  Heat a pan with a little oil and cook tips until done.  Adding some of the marinade will make a glaze as it reduces.

This fish does well on its own with a side of veggies and rice or you can use in stir fry of cabbage and noodles…think yakisoba or a regular stir fry.

 

 

Sautéed Cabbage with Turmeric

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Cabbage has been one of my go to veggies this year.  I just love how versatile it is.  I was at a free Farmer’s Market where I heard and saw a lot of people pass over the cabbage because they didn’t know what to do with it.  Coleslaw, soups, sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, bierocks, egg rolls, salads, and more!

I have been wanting to add more turmeric in my diet for its anti-inflammatory properties and was excited when I saw a recipe in February’s Food & Wine for Sautéed Cabbage with Cumin Seeds and Turmeric.  The recipe is great as is and super simple.  Sauté 3 lbs of finely shredded cabbage in 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil with 1 1/2 teaspoons each of cumin seeds,turmeric and kosher salt until cabbage is soft (about 15-20 minutes).

Always thinking how to make it my own – why not add some ginger root.  It is also an anti-inflammatory and I like the brightness it can bring to a dish.

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A great side dish or serve with some rice for a meatless Monday dish.  Can’t give up the meat?  Sauté some chicken to add in or a lean ground meat.  This basic dish can be the basis for your own creativity.  Next time I am going to add large pieces of carrots to add some texture.

 

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

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Probably not on the diet list, but if you are looking for a scrumptious, hearty dish here it is!  My husband said it was AWESOMEY GOODNESS.

I wish I could take the credit for this dish but it is from The Pioneer Woman.  The only thing I added was a sprinkling of smoked paprika over each layer.  Almost all the ingredients came from my stash in the deep freeze.  We all love cooking fresh, but when you have kids, activities and more sometimes you have to be prepared.  To accomplish this we cut up left over ham from the holidays and freeze.  What else in our “freezer stock”… that we can use for this dish…diced onions, butter and cheeses.  I try to buy butter and cheese when on sale and freeze so I never run out.

I know you are excited to make this for dinner tonight and rather than copy her recipe I am including the link right HERE.

I hope you try this one as it is easy and so delicious.

 

BBQ Spaghetti

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The first time I heard of BBQ spaghetti was while living in Omaha.  I admit…even though it seemed to always be an option at potlucks I just was not interested in trying it.  Maybe it was because I love spaghetti so much and it seemed like such an off combination.  I am such an adventurous eater you would think I would have at least tried it.

Well, if you know me you know you already know I keep a lot of freshly prepared ingredients in the freezer to make meal time easier.  Today I took out some shredded pork we had previously made.  I really didn’t want to do a soup or enchiladas so I decided to peruse pinterest.  Up came BBQ spaghetti by Spicy Southern Kitchen and I had all the ingredients!

This is a an easy recipe that you can easily adapt to your own.  As I already mentioned, I used shredded pork I previously made.  If you don’t have any on hand you will use you favorite recipe for shredded pork.  The crockpot is my favorite to make shredded pork.  The recipe also calls for your favorite BBQ sauce, whether you make it homemade or choose your favorite store brand -the sauce will change the flavor profile.  Lastly, you could add bell peppers or any other ingredient you like however this is a nice basic recipe.

If you are looking for something different for dinner- here you go. Thank you Spicy Southern Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • 1 pound BBQ pulled pork
  • 2/3 C  your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 (8 0unce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cilantro, garnish

Directions:

  1. Lightly grease 9 X 13 baking dish
  2. Preheat oven 350 degrees
  3. In large bowl combine BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and sour cream- mix well
  4. Add spaghetti, pork, green onions and toss to combine
  5. Pour into baking dish, top with cheese, cover with foil.
  6. Bake 20-30 minutes
  7. Top with cilantro and top with additional BBQ sauce (optional)

 

Smoked Paprika and Brown Sugar Corn on the Cob

If I am hosting a dinner party or making a large meal I want to prep some dishes ahead of time.  Corn on the Cob is one of those you can prep ahead of time with foil and your seasoned butter. This rub gives you a sweet, smoky flavor that is addicting.  DSC_0617.JPG

In a bowl combine the following ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons of softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

DSC_0616.JPGRub butter mixture on your shucked corn and wrap each piece in foil.  Place in 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes turning once.  Alternatively, you can place foil wrapped corn on the grill- turning until tender (med- high heat about 10 minutes)

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Sweet Potato Salmon Patties

What to do with leftover salmon.  Ok Ok WHY do I have leftover salmon?  I know some of you are asking how can you have leftover salmon.     Well, during my Alaska trip this year we had the “pleasure” of butchering this one huge, monster salmon.  Let me tell you….I should taken video or pictures.  There were four of us and we took turns trying to cut these salmon steaks. This one particular salmon was a beast with a vertebrae that was making us sweat.  Needless to say, the steaks were quite large.

I had taken out two of the steaks from the freezer for dinner.  Dinner for the 3 of us includes myself, my husband and an 8 year old. One steak was not quite enough but two would leave a small amount of leftover. Unfortunately, hubby had to go out of town, but I had to cook these 2 monster steaks.  The little one and I did our best but still had quite a bit left.  You can’t waste Alaskan salmon so I had to come up with a plan for the rest.

I do make salmon patties quite often but wanted to do a little something different.  I had two sweet potatoes in the pantry and about a cup of cooked rice-quinoa mix from the salmon dinner.  You can certainly make this recipe with fresh salmon or canned salmon and leave out the rice or vegetables.  Whatever your taste prefers.  The sweet potato gives the patty a creamy texture without overpowering the salmon.

Ingredients:

  • Flaked salmon (I ended up with a little more than 2 cups)
  • 2 sweet potatoes (cubed, cooked, mashed)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons SpinBlend (mayo/salad dressing) or stone ground mustard
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs/panko…you can add a little more if texture it too wet
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • As I mentioned I had about 1 cup of leftover rice-quinoa so I added it as well.

**You may be asking where is the seasoning?? Since, the salmon was already cooked and seasoned well I didn’t need to add more.  If you are using fresh or canned salmon you will need to add some seasoning- at a minimum salt and pepper.

Mix all together, form patties and cook in a heated pan with a little oil or on your griddle.

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Note:  My son doesn’t care for sweet potato too much so I separated out some of the mix before adding sweet potato so he would have one burger sans sweet potato.

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